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Pocket-Sized Device Tests Blood Samples for Genetic Conditions

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DNA testing.

A cheap, lightweight smartphone accessory can identify DNA in blood, urine, and other samples on the spot.

Credit: Supparsorn Wantarnagon/Alamy

Researchers at the Army Medical University in China have developed a smartphone-powered DNA detector that can identify DNA in blood, urine, and other samples, on the spot.

The device, powered by heat from the smartphone, takes just 80 minutes to detect DNA based on characteristic mutations or short genetic sequences.

Samples loaded into the detector are mixed with pre-filled chemicals that light up or change color if there is any DNA that matches.

The signals are detected via the smartphone's camera, and a light box displays the result.

The researchers found the device can identify E. coli bacteria in urine, milk, and river water; it also identified a bacterium that attacks kiwi fruit plants in ground-up samples of the plant's leaves.

The device was about 97% accurate when compared with standard laboratory methods.

From New Scientist
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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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